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Tarr is a modernist novel by Wyndham Lewis, written in 1909–11, revised and expanded in 1914–15 and first serialized in the magazine The Egoist from April 1916 until November 1917. The American version was published in 1918, with an English edition published by the Egoist Press appearing shortly afterwards; Lewis later created a revised and final version published by Chatto and Windus in 1928. Set in the bohemian milieu of pre-war Paris, it presents two artists, the Englishman Tarr and the German Kreisler, and their struggles with money, women, and social situations. The novel abounds in somewhat Nietzschean themes. Tarr, generally thought to be modelled on Lewis himself, displays disdain for the 'bourgeois-bohemians' around him, and vows to 'throw off humour' which he regards—especially in its English form—as a 'means of evading reality' unsuited to ambition and the modern world. This self-conscious attitude and the situations that it brings about are, ironically, a major source of the novel's pervasive dark humour. Kreisler, a violent German Romantic of protean energy and a failure as an artist, is in many ways the focus of the novel. An indication of the extremity of his vivid portrait is Lewis's own wondering several years later if he had, in Kreisler, anticipated the personality of Hitler.

The American first edition used a punctuation mark (resembling an equals sign: '=') between sentences (after full stops, exclamation marks or question marks; in the earlier Egoist version it had been an m-dash). It has been claimed that these were an attempt by Lewis, an artist, to introduce 'painterly strokes' into literature. This has, however, been disputed by Dr. John Constable, who believes that they are nothing more than a German punctuation mark briefly adopted by Lewis. Lewis himself wrote to Ezra Pound about this when reconstructing missing parts of the manuscript for the U.S. edition: "Were those parallel lines = Quinn mentions kept going by the Egoist, or not? Could not they be disinterred, & used by Knopf?" (Lewis to Pound, October 1917). Evidently not all were disinterred, as large stretches of the book as published are without them.

Both the 1918 and 1928 versions of the novel have been in and out of print since its original publication. Oxford University Press has reissued the 1928 text, edited and with notes by Scott W. Klein of Wake Forest University, as part of its Oxford World Classics paperback series in 2010.

Tarr (disambiguation)

Tarr is a modernist novel by Wyndham Lewis.

Tarr may also refer to:

  • Black Jack Tarr, a fictional character in the Marvel Universe
  • Mount Tarr, a mountain of Antarctica

People with the surname Tarr:

  • Béla Tarr (born 1955), Hungarian film director and screenwriter
  • Bruce Tarr (21st century), member of the Massachusetts Senate
  • Christian Tarr (1765-1833), member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania
  • Don Tarr (1910-1980), Wales international rugby union player
  • Edward Tarr (born 1936), American trumpet player and musicologist
  • J. L. Tarr (1919-2008), Bronze Wolf awardee
  • Jerry Tarr (born 1939), former collegiate and professional American football player
  • Judith Tarr (born 1955), American author
  • Peri Tarr (21st century), IBM employee
  • Ralph Stockman Tarr (1864-1912), American geographer
  • Ron Tarr (1936-1997), British actor
  • Wrex Tarr (1934-2006), Rhodesian comedian, news presenter and archer